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Introduction to Guitar (Coursera)

Grasp the essentials needed to begin playing acoustic or electric guitar. You’ll learn an easy approach to get you playing quickly, through a combination of exploring the instrument, performance technique, and basic music theory.

For students who have long thought about picking up the acoustic or electric guitar, this course will provide an easy-access foundation that will get you playing. When first learning guitar, it is important to have the material presented in stages, in an enjoyable way that allows you to grasp the basics of the instrument and music. The course begins simply with the parts of the guitar, the names of the strings, tuning, and technique—whether finger-style or pick. It then explores the basics of music theory with such topics as scales, triads, power chords, and fingering and shapes.

At the end of this course, students will understand the structure, parts, and accessories of the instrument, in addition to an understanding of its basic maintenance. Electric guitar players will learn the operation of their instrument along with basic options for amplification, effect pedals, and sounds. Students will also learn to develop correct technique and apply theory concepts to their playing. They will have the foundational knowledge necessary to pursue most intermediate guitar courses.


Week 1: Welcome to Introduction to Guitar

Week 2: Acoustic / Electric Guitar and the Basics

Week 3: Getting Started: Fundamental Guitar Skills

Week 4: The Twelve Half Steps and Basic Notation

Week 5: Scales: Construction and Fingerings

Week 6: Chords: Building Easy Triads and Power Cords

Week 7: Putting it All Together: The Pentatonic Scale and Songs